Originally Posted by WFEGb
... As Terry says: You can't inhale too early...
Weeeell, not if your mouth is in the air you can't but otherwise ..? ;) :D
For me, not breathing underwater is actually a key. I've learnt that while whatever I want to do my body tries to do there are limits. What I want to do is only what my "conscious" mind wants to do, and my body (all the rest of me including most of my brain) deals with those "wants" a bit like a doting nanny might do those of a 2yr old. If it were not for that fact I would be constantly colliding with things, falling over, and much worse.
Getting out of my depth in water is not in my body's job description and it (I) consequently view the activity with more than a little suspicion. Although I know of my ability to breath through my mouth even when my mouth is still partly submerged, and enjoy playing with this, I don't have the necessary degree of subliminal confidence to do so when my attention is elsewhere, as it often is while swimming. Think less, swim more?
A dryland example of this is standing on one foot. I suspect we all favour standing on one foot rather than the other but it is relatively easy to become proficient standing on either. Recently snapping my hip in two has meant having to relearn the simple acts of standing and walking (my legs are now different lengths). Yet despite for instance actually favouring skiing on my left leg (pushing with my right) standing on that leg (only) remains a less "confident" action. Most of the time now I can switch from one leg to the other without having to rebalance or focus on getting that right. However still there remains a "wobble" in it. My left knee "wants" to be inboard rather than taking up the "correct" position between my hip (CoG) and foot. I see this as because if my balance fails to the inside I will "fall" onto my right foot whereas if my balance fails to the outside I will just fall.
But Terry is of course right, as a coaching instruction we must learn how to breathe "too early" as building confidence in the water is the primary plank of good swimming technique.
I also think Danny is spot on here:
Originally Posted by Danny
.. In the end, you are who you are, and if you want to learn to swim and breath comfortably, this will take some time and effort.
I wouldn't agonize about this question too much.
Play about with floating around, vertically, on your front, on your back, arms out, back, up, down, whatever. I like floating vertically. To breathe I push my head under the surface. My body then pops up higher, and I then lift my head to breathe. You can bob up and down like this indefinitely with little or no effort. It all helps get a feel for the water. And it's also the feeling of extra buoyancy that comes in the stroke when both arms are under the water.